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Johnny Eblen criticizes Gordon Ryan’s pro-steroid stance: ‘I just don’t think it’s good for humans’


Johnny Eblen sees no place for performance-enhancing drugs in MMA.

The Bellator middleweight champion has been vocal in his stance against PEDs, most recently criticizing grappling superstar Gordon Ryan for suggesting the UFC could become more “entertaining” after recently parting ways with drug-testing partner U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (the UFC is now working with Drug Free Sport International).

In a recent Instagram post, Eblen criticized Ryan for promoting steroid use, and he followed up on those comments during an interview on The MMA Hour.

“I just don’t think it’s a good way to promote athletes to do this type of stuff, because you have to understand athletes have a big influence on kids and young athletes, and even college athletes,” Eblen said. “I just don’t think it’s a route that is sustainable for the long run, for people’s health, and just for sport. One big thing that really pops up to me is when [Michael] Bisping lost an eye to frickin’ Vitor Belfort, he was ‘TRT Vitor.’ Does that happen if he’s not on f****** TRT, I don’t know.

‘But instances like that can happen because guys are juiced to the gills, and I just don’t agree — I mean, don’t get me wrong, the guy’s amazing at what he does. Gordon is the best of the best. I just don’t agree with him on a certain point when it comes to PEDs. I’m just anti-PED, I just don’t think it’s good for humans, especially for kids to be doing that s***.

“You might have the influence to have a kid do it, and that might ruin their life in the long run. They might end up a train wreck later on, so that’s just kind of my viewpoint on it, I don’t agree with it, and I’m pretty much anti-PED and just stay away from that s***.”

Eblen has made all the right moves since his pro MMA debut in 2017, racking up a 14-0 record that includes 10 wins inside the Bellator cage. He currently reigns as the promotion’s 185-pound champion with two title defenses under his belt, though his status is somewhat in limbo following Bellator recently being acquired by the PFL.

He can’t say for certain if there’s a substantial PED problem in MMA, but he is concerned that those who are using haven’t considered the long-term consequences.

“I mean, when PFL did the testing, a lot of guys popped,” Eblen said. “A lot of promotions don’t like to test because they just want the guys to perform and, you know, cool, they can do that, but what are they going to look like when they’re 60 years old? What are their bodies going to be like? Because they’re probably doing it now to be an entertainer, but you’re a human first, you’re an entertainer second.

“Maybe you’re an entertaining for 20 years or 15 years, but what’s the rest of your life going to look like? So I’m here trying to root for humanity to be in a better place regardless of where you’re at in your life, whether you’re an entertainer, an old guy, a young guy. Just don’t take s*** that’s going to have repercussions later.”

Asked if anyone has ever offered him PEDs, Eblen said it’s never happened, but he added he’s had people ask him if he is currently using based on his performances. One aspect of cheating that particularly irks Eblen is the possibility that some are doing it unwillingly and only to level the playing field against other cheaters.

Eblen added that as far as he can tell, Bellator did a good job of testing, though he can’t say for certain that everyone on the roster is clean.

“I feel like they did a pretty good job, but there’s some guys I look at, I’m like, I feel like they’re still on s*** and some of them are still figuring out ways to get around it,” Eblen said. “That’s a problem, I think. When I really look at it, I’m like, they must be super f****** paranoid then. Just constantly, just having that paranoia at your back. Then you’re probably having to do all this crazy stuff to make sure you don’t get caught. It’s like, I’d rather just not take anything and f****** go all natural, it just seems easier that way.”

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